Thursday, March 14th, 2019


BAssets raises stake in Jubli Mentari to 65%

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Assets Bhd’s (BAssets) wholly owned subsidiary Berjaya Assets Alliance Sdn Bhd today subscribed for 2.6 million new shares in Jubli Mentari Sdn Bhd for RM5.20 million cash or at RM2.00 per share, increasing the BAssets group’s stake in the firm from 30% to 65%.

This makes Jubli Mentari a subsidiary of BAssets, the group said.

Jubli Mentari was incorporated in Malaysia on Jan 8, 2016 and has not commenced operations.

“It is the intention of Jubli Mentari to undertake a resort development project. Jubli Mentari has been offered to lease a parcel of land measuring about 15.975 acres for a lease period of 59 years in Langkawi, Kedah,” BAssets said in a stock exchange filing.

Berjaya Group Bhd, a subsidiary of Berjaya Corporation Bhd (BCorp) had a 30% stake in Jubli Mentari and following the completion of the subscription, the stake in JMSB was reduced to 15%.

The cash proceeds from the subscription will be utilised by Jubli Mentari to part-finance the lease payments and the working capital.

“The subscription provides an opportunity for the BAssets group to venture into property development,“ BAssets said.

BFood Q3 earnings boosted by Starbucks, Kenny Rogers

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Food Bhd (BFood) saw a net profit of RM8.98 million for the third quarter ended Jan 31 compared with a net loss of RM10.85 million a year ago, mainly due to higher profit contributions from its Starbucks operations in tandem with the higher revenue achieved as well as improved performance from the Kenny Rogers Roasters (KRR) Malaysia’s operations in the current quarter, with the absence of loss arising from the disposal of the group’s KRR operations in Indonesia.

It registered a 9.8% increase in revenue to RM180.54 million from RM164.44 million in the previous year’s corresponding quarter, mainly underpinned by the same-store-sales growth recorded by Starbucks as well as additional Starbucks cafes operating in Malaysia in the current quarter under review.

BFood has recommended a third interim dividend of 1.0 sen dividend per share for the quarter under review, payable on April 26.

For the nine-month period, BFood’s net profit jumped over 73 times to RM22.26 million from RM304,000 in the previous year’s corresponding period, while revenue rose 6% to RM508.50 million from RM479.61 million.

“The renewed consumer confidence level coupled with the group’s expansion plans will fuel the group’s business growth. This augurs well for the group’s operations going forward,” BFood said.

Phase-out of palm oil biofuel puts Asean-EU FTA in jeopardy

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The European Union’s (EU) decision to phase out palm oil from being used in biofuel within the bloc is putting the Asean-EU free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in jeopardy. The Ministry of International Trade and…

BCorp: We didn’t lose US$200m in Jeju project

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) has clarified that the US$200 million (RM817.4 million) invested on the property and resort development project in Jeju, South Korea, does not represent a loss suffered by the company.

“We had stated that Berjaya has invested in excess of US$200 million on our property and resort development project in Jeju, South Korea. Certain quarters have construed this statement to mean that the group has suffered a loss of US$200 million on this project. This is totally misconceived and misunderstood,” it said in a statement today.

According to BCorp, the sum in excess of US$200 million invested by the group on the Jeju project comprises cost of acquisition of the project land, infrastructure and construction costs, professional fees and statutory contributions plus finance costs and other incidental expenditure.

“This amount invested does not represent a loss suffered by the company,” it added.

The Jeju project was undertaken by Berjaya Jeju Resort Ltd (BJR), a subsidiary of Berjaya Land Bhd which is a listed subsidiary of BCorp. BJR was the master developer of the Jeju project.

BJR has commenced a lawsuit against Jeju Free International City Development Centre (JDC), a wholly owned institution under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Korean Government to claim compensation to recover its investment in the amount of about US$350 million in respect of, inter alia, costs incurred, increase in land value of the project land and other reliefs.

“The lawsuit against JDC arises from the sale of the project land by JDC to BJR which was subsequently terminated after the Korean Supreme Court ruled that the expropriation process in respect of certain parcels within the project land was invalid and hence such land parcels had to be returned to the previous landowners,” the group said.

It said that the JDC had contracted to transfer the project land to BJR with clean title, which resulted in BJR having to abort the project and subsequently instituted the lawsuit to claim compensation against JDC.

The lawsuit against JDC is ongoing and the group’s Korean lawyers have opined that BJR has a good chance of success in its lawsuit against JDC. The group is confident that it will prevail in its lawsuit against JDC and succeed in recovering the claimed compensation of US$350 million.

PNB, EPF complete acquisition of Battersea Power Station’s commercial assets

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) have finalised their acquisition of the Battersea Power Station’s commercial assets from sellers S P Setia Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd following…

January industrial output index up 3.2%

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Industrial Production Index (IPI) expanded 3.2% in January 2019 as compared with the same month in the previous year according to the Department of Statistics.

The growth was supported by the increase in the index of electricity (7.8%) and manufacturing (4.2%). However, the index of mining declined 0.9%.

The major sub-sectors which contributed to the growth in the manufacturing sector were non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal products (4.3%); petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (4%); and electrical and electronic equipment products (3.9%).

Meanwhile, the drop in the mining sector index was due to the decrease in the crude oil index by 2.2%. The natural gas index increased 0.3%.

Manufacturing sales for January 2019 grew 7% to RM72.5 billion against RM67.8 billion reported a year ago. The growth was supported by the increase in petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (9.2%); transport equipment & other manufactures products (7.7%); and electrical and electronics products (6.3%).

Total employees engaged in the manufacturing sector in January 2019 was 1.09 million persons, an increase of 2% as compared with 1.07 million in January 2018.

Salaries and wages paid rose 8.9% or RM332.7 million to RM4.07 billion, thus registering an average salaries and wages per employee of RM3,731 in January 2019.

Sales value per employee grew 4.9% to record RM66,392 as compared with the same month of the previous year.

Enforcement front – 43 active investigations as at Dec 31, 2018

IN 2018, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) received 17 referrals of possible violations of securities offences arising mostly from active surveillance of market and corporate activities as well as referrals from local authorities. More than half of these referrals related to securities fraud and market manipulation offences, which is a departure from the trend of previous years where the majority of referrals were in relation to insider trading offences.

As at Dec 31, 2018, there were 43 active investigations. A significant portion of investigative resources was deployed to work on cases relating to market misconduct involving insider trading and market manipulation. Additionally, one third of active investigations in 2018 involved corporate governance transgressions relating to the misconduct of public-listed company (PLC) directors and officers causing wrongful loss to the PLC as well as securities fraud cases.

In 2018, 80 administrative sanctions were imposed by the SC for various misconducts and breaches of securities laws including making false or misleading statements to the SC, breaches of licensing conditions, failure to comply with approved accounting standards in the preparation of audited financial statements and for late submission of documents under the Lodge and Launch (LOLA) Framework.

Sanctions imposed on the parties in breach comprised reprimands, revocation and suspension of licences, imposition of penalties and directives and issuance of public statements.

A total of RM6.39 million in penalties were imposed in 2018.

Apart from the administrative actions under its statutory powers, the SC also utilises other forms of non-statutory enforcement tools in the exercise of its monitoring, gate-keeping and supervisory functions.

Infringement notices are issued where breaches of securities laws or guidelines detected do not warrant the initiation of a formal enforcement action or the imposition of an administrative action. In 2018, 66 infringement notices were issued by the SC.

The SC had 51 ongoing cases in the Sessions Court, High Court and Court of Appeal last year. Of these cases, 49% related to insider trading while 23% related to corporate governance breaches such as financial misstatements and disclosure offences. Out of this number of ongoing cases, 6% involved questions of law and interlocutory applications in superior courts. Cases relating to unlicensed activities, market manipulation and securities fraud made up the remaining 22% of the total number of cases.

UK watchdog puts Brexit war chest at £26.6b

LONDON, March 14 — Britain will have a £26.6-billion (RM143.92-billion) war chest to battle the potential damage of its exit from the European Union, a government oversight body said. With the Brexit deadline approaching on March 29 and no deal…

Govt to realign business ecosystem policy to strengthen entrepreneurs, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The government is realigning the policy governing business ecosystem to strengthen local entrepreneurs in the pursuit to improve their contribution to the economy, Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan…

Marginal rise in total approved investments last year, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Total approved investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors increased to RM201.7 billion last year from RM200.6 billion in 2017, International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking said. He said…